Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free

Put on your bow-tie, blow up the big balloons, throw sparkles in the air because it’s time to celebrate! This cake is all about celebration! Layers of fluffy gluten free white cake sandwiched with sprinkle-spiked vanilla frosting and topped with more vanilla frosting and sprinkles. Whatever the occasion, this cake will be the life of the party!Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes I just feel the spirit move me to make cake. And who am I to deny when a cake is called for? Saturday afternoon found me in a celebratory state of mind and with an empty house (Chris had to work) and no demands on my time, I felt the urge to just make a pretty cake. I have been pondering how to make a good gluten free white cake for a while. One with a fluffy, almost white crumb, made for layering with frosting and decorating with sprinkles. Tall, sweet, and pretty enough for any occasion. Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis cake was the answer to my dream. All it took were some simple alterations to one of my favourite cupcake recipes, and voila! Fluffy, tender-crumbed, gluten free white cake layers just begging for frosting. To keep the crumb as light in colour and texture as possible I replaced most of the eggs with egg whites only. This can sometimes result in a tough crumb, but the addition of Greek yoghurt ensures the cake will be tender and light. Greek yoghurt also replaces some of the protein lost in gluten free baked goods and improves the structure exponentially. No more dry and crumbly cakes! And no need for xanthan gum or any special flour mixes either. This cake is made from easily found, naturally gluten free flours. Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy gluten free Vanilla Celebration Cake is the birthday cake, holiday cake, Friday morning tea cake that you have been waiting for. Perfect layers sandwiched with sprinkled vanilla buttercream and topped with a shower of colourful sprinkles. The colour combinations are endless too! Need a cake for Australia Day? Substitute green and gold sprinkles. The Fourth of July? How about red, white, and blue sprinkles? I made mine with rainbow sprinkles to celebrate this wonderful day! And Chris’s workmates didn’t even leave me a crumb! Whatever the occasion this classic, simple white cake will delight every taste bud around the table.
Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeRemember that perfect birthday cake with all the candles burning bright? Remember biting into sweet, moist cake layers and feeling the sugary crunch of your favourite sprinkles? Remember the sweet licks of vanilla frosting and scraping every crumb from your plate? This is that cake. This is a cake full of memories of sweet celebrations. This is a cake made for creating new memories.
Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Vanilla Celebration Cake

Makes one two-layer 6-inch round cake | Serves 10-12 | Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams sorghum flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 225 grams (1 1/4 cups) caster sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 4 egg whites (from large eggs) at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk

Frosting

  • 180 grams butter, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons pouring cream (or milk)
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles (ensure gluten free) plus extra for decorating

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease two 6-inch round cake tins with extra butter. Line the bottoms with circles of baking paper. Set aside until required.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together brown rice flour, sorghum flour, white rice flour, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl)  cream butter and sugar on a medium-high speed until it reaches a light and creamy consistency, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add egg and whites one at a time and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required.
  5. Beat in vanilla extract and almond extract.
  6. In a small bowl whisk together yoghurt and milk.
  7. Turn mixer speed to low and beat in a flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the wet ingredient mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required. After the last addition, beat until smooth.
  8. Divide mixture equally between the two prepared tins. Level tops and then bake for 30-40 minutes. Switch the position of the pans every ten minutes. Cakes are done when the tops are slightly golden and they bounce back when lightly pressed. Check the cakes at 30 minutes, and then decide if they need the extra ten minutes.
  9. Remove cakes from the oven. Cool in tins for 10 minutes. Then remove from tins and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make frosting. Beat butter until light and fluffy. It should be pearly and nearly white. Then add the remaining ingredients and beat until completely smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
  11. Put 1/3 frosting into a separate bowl and add 1/4 cup sprinkles. Stir until distributed.
  12. To assemble cake. Place one layer on a plate or serving dish and frost with the sprinkled frosting.
  13. Place second layer on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting, reserve about 1 cup for decorative piping. Use a large flat-bladed knife or a frosting palette knife to make this easy.
  14. Place remaining frosting into a frosting bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe small stars around the top of the cake.
  15. Decorate with sprinkles or as desired. Store in fridge, covered for up to three days. Sit at room temperature for thirty minutes before serving.

Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI could stare at pictures of this cake for hours. But nothing is as good as baking one of your own, putting on some party music, and finding any excuse to celebrate!

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Twenty-Three

Chris and I are kicking back today and tomorrow and enjoying the Queen’s birthday long weekend. There is something nourishing about having an extra weekend day: extra time to spend with your family, extra time to just wander through the hours, time to put your feet up with a book, or snuggle in bed with a movie and your loved one. I hope all my Aussie readers are enjoying the long weekend, and enjoy this week’s Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Twenty-Three:

Monday: Tonight Chris and I took a step away from the world and treated each other to a night in. He lit candles, I made dinner, and then we snuggled in bed watching Game of Thrones. I am grateful for this oasis we have away from the busyness of the outside world.

Tuesday: Today I woke up feeling blech. Flu-like and achy and after a trip to the doctor I took a quiet walk along the bay. Sometimes you just need to nourish your soul and today was one of those days. I am grateful that Chris told me to just stay in bed today and take care of myself. I am grateful that I was able to take this day off and rest my body.

waterfront run

Wednesday: Today was Mum’s birthday and tonight we gathered at Jess and Trent’s place for a small family dinner. I am so grateful for my Mum and grateful to be able to see her and celebrate with the family on her actual birthday. Jess made delicious tacos and I supplied a family favourite for dessert.

Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice 4

Thursday: This morning I woke up after the best night’s sleep in a long time. I was super grateful when I walked out the door and Mum handed me a travel mug of green tea. Thanks Mum for getting the morning off to a great start. Tonight I caught up with an old friend and got my hair done for the first time in six months. I was grateful to pamper myself a little and to have some deep and meaningful talk with a dear friend.

Friday: A few weeks ago one of the big bosses told me I could have  few hours off before the long weekend. Which means super long weekend! I was grateful for the chance to leave early and have a great run at the gym. I am also grateful for my sweet Christopher who had flowers delivered to me today at work! I’m grateful for these romantic moments and that he took the time out to make my day.

flowers from chris

Saturday: First day of the long weekend! This morning I met Jess at the markets to have breakfast and shop for Mum’s birthday party tonight. I was grateful to catch up with Jess and for her help getting ready for tonight’s party. After that we went home, made Mum’s cupcakes, went for a walk and got ready for our family and friends to show up. We had a wonderful time gathering together: we drank wine, ate home made burgers and coleslaw, sang happy birthday and munched on cupcakes. At the end of the night Chris and I, Mum and Dad sat down and had a final glass of wine together. I was grateful for that time with just the four of us; a chance to share some laughs and some love.

mums cupcakes

Sunday: Today I woke up early for a walk with Jess and then shared a slow morning of breakfast and car washing with Mum and Dad. Then Chris and I retreated home to lay around and read books and watch some truly terrible television. I am grateful to Dad for helping me wash my car and to Mum for making us a delicious morning tea. Thanks for a great weekend.

Apricot Coconut Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I am now off to watch a movie with Chris and eat something simple and delicious for dinner (antipasto may be involved). Enjoy the weekend wherever you are readers!

Also this week:

Happy Birthday Jess!

Every year when your birthday comes around I still feel the same excitement deep within my heart that I did the first time I got to meet you – you! Alive and out in this world and all mine to love. We have grown now and our paths have taken different twists and turns, but when I look beside me I can still see you through the trees; you flash a smile and I am reassured by your grace and tenacity.

On the Sundays when I am home we set out in the crisp morning air, a panting dog stalking at our feet, and nothing but bright blue skies overhead. For the next hour or so there is no-one but us. We talk, chattering like two birds filling the wakening day with our worries, our celebrations, our stories. We advise, commiserate, and laugh, oh so much laughter. These walks, this time with you, is restorative and fills up my heart.

Jess

You are a lioness little one. You are a bright young thing. You are a beautiful, smart, brave, kind, fierce, loyal and a hundred other sparkly shiny things wrapped in a determined and gorgeous young woman. You are the only person I can watch Katy Perry’s movie with, the only one who understands just what Martha Stewart really means, the one who knows why singing along to ‘Can’t Fight the Moonlight’ is essential, that dancing like a psychopathic lemur when the mood strikes is deeply nourishing to the soul, that hugging and humming to a bowl of food is an expression of joy itself, and why it is okay to be preoccupied with the perfect pie crust while you are staring at an endless spreadsheet.

Jess and I

I wish I knew how to repay you for all the love, support, guidance, and happiness you have given me over your life so far. If I could I would shower you in all the peanut m&ms ever made; wrap you in a thousand peach coloured scarves (it is your colour); buy you a different pair of boots for every day of the year; and make sure you never, ever ran out of tinned corn. I can’t do these things, but I can promise you this: I will always be here for you, I will always work to make you happy, and I will always love you. I carry your heart. I carry it in my heart.

Happy birthday Jess.

Jess and m&ms

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Nineteen

As I write I am sitting in a patch of afternoon sun with the bay breeze blowing through the window. I should be working on my uni dissertation, and this it the plan for the rest of the evening, but first I need to reflect a little on the full and amazing week that I have had. Let’s not procrastinate, here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Nineteen:

Monday: Today winter made its first bite felt here in Brisbane. I warmed up with a great 5 mile run this evening and when I got home Chris had made sure to turn the heating on so that the house was toasty warm. I am grateful that he is so thoughtful. After dinner I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream for Chris to take to work for his birthday. Also, after that run, I licked the bowl…

Tuesday: Today was Chris’s birthday! I am so grateful for this man and for living my life with someone who is funny, smart, and takes such great care of me. Happy birthday my darling. We celebrated with an easy dinner (Chris had KFC for his birthday treat) and watched ‘The Monuments Men’ – highly recommended. Thank you to everyone for the sweet birthday wishes, he was very touched.

chris birthday

Wednesday: Today I took a walk at lunch time and called my Mormor. I am grateful that I still have my grandmother here to talk to about everything. Sometimes people write off their elders as not understanding what they are going through forgetting that they have already lived that part of their life and might have some wisdom to offer. I am grateful to talk to my grandmother about life, men, relationships, food (we are the gluten intolerant ones in the family) and fashion (she was a seamstress and dressmaker in her youth).

Thursday: This afternoon I had a major headache and just felt blech. I know that’s not a word, but I think we all understand the feeling. I was grateful to come home, crawl into bed with Chris who took care of dinner and entertainment for us this evening. Also, I made cookies, and cookies make me feel better every time.

cookies

Friday: Today I wrote about some hard things. Like Ernest Hemingway said ‘write hard and clear about what hurts’. I’m grateful that I have this place to write about things that are on my mind. I am grateful to all of you who responded. I try to mainly talk about food and gratitude here, but if someone could read those words and know that the comparison game, the constant striving to measure up to all those huge expectations of yourself, is not always the kindest thing you can do for yourself. I’m not saying that we should give up and accept our lot, rather, I am saying that if you focus on making your little corner of the world better, then you are creating something great for the people around you and inspiring others to do the same.

Pasta

Saturday: Today we celebrated Chris’s birthday! I went for a huge walk in the morning because I knew there was an awesome ice cream cake coming (even if I do say so myself…). Chris and I cleaned and rearranged the house and in the evening we were joined by some great friends to celebrate through the night. I am grateful that people came to celebrate with Chris and we had a great time. P.S. Our friends James and Nick made the most awesome Nutella ice cream…I’m going to copycat that as soon as possible!

the sky

Sunday: This morning we celebrated Mother’s Day! Mum, Dad, Mormor, Aunty Lone, Uncle Paul, Grace and Grandad Gil and I gathered for breakfast on the water. It was a wonderful morning. I am so grateful for my Mum. I have gone through some big changes in the past few years, some devastating moments, and so many wonderful things and I know that without Mum I wouldn’t have survived the bad and thrived and celebrated the good. My Mum is a woman who was born to be a mother. She is strong, sweet, kind, firm, funny, and adventurous. She has read more books than I think I will ever manage in my life. She has the best taste in action movies. She is my couch companion for Miss Marple, Poirot, and Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett please) binges. If I am half the woman, half the mother, that she is when I finally ‘grow up’ then I will be happy indeed. Love you Mum and thank you for everything you have done for Jess and I throughout the years.

Mama and Me

Also this week:

  • I made Chris this chicken from Iowa Girl Eats and he loved it. This will definitely reappear on our dinner menu
  • We celebrated Chris’s birthday!
  • I made pancakes, you should make them too
  • I made cookies, you should make them as well, and share them with the ones you love

Tell me, dear readers, what are you grateful for this week? How did you celebrate with your Mum?

Happy Birthday Chris!

Today I am stopping to wish a happy birthday to one of the most important ingredients in the recipe for my Thoroughly Nourished Life – my darling Christopher!

Saturday (2)

Sweetheart, you are the reason my sun rises every day and sets in the evening. I couldn’t live a day without hearing that infectious, body-shaking laugh or seeing your smile. When the corners of your mouth lift and your green eyes crinkle delicately at the corners my face can’t help but respond in kind. You are the one I want to run through the cold night with and watch the stars fall down into the ocean at the end of time. I love your quick, curious mind and the way you know a little bit about everything and are hungry to learn more whenever you can.

You make friends easily, put people at ease with your charm and open manner, and I love the way the room lights up when you walk in. I am grateful for your talents with an iron, and that you will try anything I make, even the hippie-dippy-vegetarian-lentil-and-kale stuff. I am grateful that you show me affection whenever you are near and that you whisper into my ear just what I need to hear. I am happy that I get to build this life with you and I’m looking forward to all the adventures we are going to have on this long, winding road of life.

Happy Birthday my love. Here is to many more.

Chris and Amy b and w

Twenty-Seven Thoughts for Twenty-Seven Years

Fair warning: this post is long. Read it in chunks. Read only a little. Read the whole lot. Let me know what you think.

Yesterday I turned twenty-seven. That’s only three years away from thirty, and a whole decade since I graduated high school. Scary, huh?

Last night I finished the last page of the journal I have been writing in for the past two years. A lot has happened since I turned twenty-five; those pages are weighed heavy by the highs and lows of a woman-in-progress. And though some of the events left scars on my heart, others have turned me into a firework sparking through the night sky. I would like to believe that none of those moment, those highs and lows, have been in vain. I would like to believe that I have learned from each of them and used that experience to inform my choices as I moved through my life.

Twenty Seven Thoughts

My birthday always gives me a lot of pause for thought and today to mark the beginning of my life as a twenty-seven year old I am sharing with you my twenty-seven thoughts about life.

1. Take care of your family. Let them know that you love them. ‘Blood is thicker than water’ does not mean you can ignore or mistreat the people closest to you on the DNA tree and then expect them to support you when you come running home. Be careful with their hearts and show them how much they mean to you every day.

2. Keep your heart open – love is waiting in unexpected places. Someday that person might just pull up a barstool next to you and sweep you off your feet with their sense of humour, quick wit, and sparkling green-eyed smile. You need to be open to that. Take a chance on love because you never know where it might lead.

3. Read. Lots of things. All the things. Never stop. Words and knowledge are power. The right words will cripple you, tear you down, and build you back up again. Be greedy in your consumption of words and nourish your soul and your mind.

4. Eat well. Eat all the things. Eat cookies and kale. Eat in celebration and in moderation. Eat the healthy and the not-so-healthy. Eat the way that feels right to you. Eat kindly to yourself and the planet.

5. Adopt a dog (or a cat or a goldfish or heck, even a salamander). Give life to someone who has been rejected and they will return the love ten-fold. You have never known unconditional love until you come through the door to someone who is happy because you just showed up.

6. Run or walk or swim or cycle. Let your heart pump blood through this body you have been gifted.

Twenty Seven thoughts 27. Be thankful. For the big things and the small. Say it out loud – people don’t hear it enough anymore.

8. Be grateful. Find something each day, even the smallest thing on the worst day, and be grateful for it. Write it down and read over the list on the days when gratitude is the hardest.

9. Be humble. Don’t live your life simply in the pursuit of praise. Live your life in pursuit of making someone’s day easier without them even knowing.

10. Be boastful. Shout your loved one’s and your friend’s achievement from the rooftops. Tell the world of their amazingness.

11. Hold on tight. We are nothing without each other. We are everything together. The world will try to tear you down enough with its ebbs and flows. Hold on tight to those around you and we can weather any storm.

12. Know when to let go. Anger, humiliation, grief, and pain all have their place in life, but don’t let them become your whole life or you will wither from the poison they send forth.

13.Make friends. Fall in love with your friends. You will know amazing, awesome, creative, caring, intelligent people when you come across them. Make them your friend and never let them go (see number 11).

14.Create something. Write a book, paint a picture, plant a garden, rebuild an engine, make a person – leave the planet a little richer than you found it.

15. Save your money. Extravagance is not always the right thing. Sometimes you just need a kitchen table, a pot of pasta, and the best people you know in order to have the best night of your life.

16. Spend your money. Give to charity. Be independent of your parents. Pay your bills. Buy a little something for someone to brighten their day, sometimes that someone is yourself.

17.Find something to believe in. Is that God? Is that science? Is that other people? Find a belief in something outside yourself that will keep you here when everything else fails.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

18. Get outta here! Travel. Place yourself firmly outside your comfort zone and watch yourself thrive. Learn how others live. Listen to their stories. Take the lessons back to your own life.

19. Love where you are. Home is where the heart is, but sometimes loving the place takes time. Invest in where you are. Seek the hidden treasures and the path less travelled in your own hometown. I am still working on this one.

20. Be the change you wish to see in the world. You don’t have to end all the wars, but you can spread peace in your own life, your own community. Imagine if we all made our own little corner a little better. Now that’s crowdsourcing.

21. Learn the rules. Learn which ones to break and which ones to make a fundamental practice in your life. Colouring inside the lines? Overrated. Saying thank you to a waiter? Essential.

22. Respect the humanity of everyone you come across. The person cleaning your office deserves just as much respect and dignity as the person who signs your pay cheque, and in some cases, so much more. Would you walk a mile in their shoes? Show some respect for the road they are on.

23. Laugh. At yourself, with other people, at the funny, the not so funny, and sometimes the sad. Just never lose your ability to laugh. Life really is funny if you let it tickle your funny bone.

DSC01515

24. Cry. Sometimes there is nothing to do but let the tears wash away the blues. Let yourself feel the feeling and let it flow.

25. Take big walks. This is slightly different to number 6. Big walks aren’t just for exercising the body: they are for exercising the heart and soul. Big walks are where you tackle the big questions you are afraid to ask yourself in the confines of a room. Big walks are where you stride alongside your sister and pour your heart out and listen to her wisdom. Big walks are where you hold hands with the one you love and stare at the sky in awed silence that in this vast universe you found your heart’s match. Big walks are where you plot and plan what you want your life to be and where you want to wander.

26. Work hard for your dream. Find something you want to do with your life and do it with all your might. Stay up late, get up early and keep hustling in pursuit of your dream.

27. Make time for rest. Put your feet up, lay your head on someone’s lap and look around at your life. Be mindful of the moment when you stop and just let yourself float into the atmosphere chasing the nothingness of a lazy afternoon. Let yourself have a Sunday.

These are things I have learned, that I am learning, that from my twenty-seven year old perspective seem important for living an authentic life: a thoroughly nourished life.

Grateful For You, Dad

This week I am putting off the normal Gratitude List until tomorrow and dedicating today to my Dad. I am grateful to have this man as my father and my friend.

My Dad and Me.

My Dad and Me.

Today, a number of years ago, a baby came into this world. He was born in a small town and when he grew he longed to escape and seek adventure for himself. He hopped aboard a ship and sailed around the country that he loved. Along the way he got into scraps and scrapes, instigated many jaunts and japes, lived amongst the most colourful of characters and learned a great many things.

One day he rode into a northern town and saw the lady he knew he wanted to marry, and so he took her as his bride and together they worked hard to build a life for themselves and the two daughters they brought into the world, one dark, and one fair.

the whole family

Times were not always easy, but the four loved each other fiercely and the golden hours out-numbered the darker times. As his daughters grew the man taught them all the things he knew about the world and the skills they would need. He taught them to be generous with whatever they have; to give no matter how little they possess because good will and good deeds will always be repaid. He taught them to create, to let the sparkles inside their mind come to life and become reality. He taught them to work hard and put their heads down and never, ever give up. He taught them to live in the world, be proud of who they are and the names they bear, and to always look at things from a different perspective. He taught them to be loyal, to be fierce in their love of family and friends, and to leave the world a better place because of their being alive.

Today, his daughters are grown, and though they now make their own way in the world, it is with the lessons of their father, a great man, a great friend, a great teacher, in their hearts and minds.

We love you Dada. Happy Birthday.

Sweet Silent Saturday

Happy weekend-ing everyone! I just thought I would share a few of my favourite photos of the cupcakes I have created over the past few months. Let’s get this weekend off to a sweet start!

What is everyone up to on this gorgeous spring weekend?

Mocha cupcakes

 

Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs

Pink and purple and butterflies

Guylian chocolates

Butterflies

Chocolate

Almond Tea Cake with Rosewater Glaze

Stop Press: Once you’ve finished with this post, why not head over and check out my new Recipe page! So happy to have everything in one place for you all now.

Dark gloomy clouds settled over Brisbane early yesterday morning when Mum set off for a tea party for one of her friend’s birthdays. I was unable to attend, but instead I sent along this almond tea cake with rosewater glaze. The lady in question reminds me of an English rose. She has fantastic tales to tell of her childhood and teenage years in England. Tales of holidays in far-off places and the various jobs she and her family have had over the years. Her father is in his nineties and still taking world trips; I believe his last holiday took him on a cruise to Canada and Alaska. Now that’s the kind of ninety year old I want to be!

Almond cake1

I love listening to other people’s stories. One of the main reasons I have always wanted to be a writer is that I truly believe that everyone has a story to tell, and unless we write these tales down they will be lost to the mists of time. There is something fascinating about asking someone how they see the world, and trying to understand their view, how they stand in their truth, and how they choose to interact with life.

This cake is light, but moist and scented heavily with almond and vanilla. The perfect cake for a winter morning tea with a strong and sweet cup of English breakfast tea (Twinings of course). Enjoy.

Almond cake2

Almond Tea Cake with Rosewater Glaze

I made this cake with 6 egg yolks that I had leftover from batches of seven minute frosting. You can use 3 whole eggs in their place, but the results may differ slightly and it may require a little extra cooking time. I used an 8-inch ring pan – similar tins are available on Amazon or at your local cooking store. You can use a normal 8-inch cake tin; your cake will just be a little flatter. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks (or 3 whole eggs), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 170C (340F). Thoroughly grease and flour a 8-inch ring tin. Concentrate on the centre piece as you do not want to be fighting to get your cake off after it has baked.
  2. Sift together plain flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-size bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond essences.
  5. Alternate adding flour and milk in three portions beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the top springs back when touched.
  8. Remove and allow to cool for ten minutes in the pan before gently turning out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before pouring over glaze and decorating.
  9. For the glaze: Whisk together 2 cups of icing sugar, 3-4 tablespoons water, and 1 teaspoon of rosewater until smooth. You can also add a few drops of pink food colouring to complete the English teatime effect.

Tell me dear reader, do you love listening to other people’s stories? Anyone in particular who enchants you? 

Nourished Life Gratitude List Weeks Ten and Eleven

The past two weeks have been an odd mix of fits and starts. In some things I feel as though I have been making great progress. I have gotten my teeth into my romantic fiction manuscript and I passed the seven thousand mark the other day. I know it’s only a small start, but it’s the most I’ve ever written on a story and I can see the character’s journey unfolding before me. All I have to do is persevere and get it down before my deadline of March 24 next year.

In some other things I feel a little stifled, and no matter how much I keep chasing things down, the finish line keeps moving away from me. But, onward is the only way.

In all of this, I have had a lot to be grateful for. Here are the everyday moments that have made me grateful over the past fortnight.

 

Week Ten:

Monday: Coming home from a long run to snuggles and kisses from Molly.

My favourite post-run treat!

My favourite post-run treat!

Tuesday: A muffin and tea break in the afternoon sun before heading off for my final class at uni. Only six months left to go now!

Wednesday: A stormy lunchtime scroll to get lunch. I love this city.

Thursday: Awesome writing day! First day of working on a story and 2500 words done!

Friday: Meeting a very dear friend for coffee at the yacht club. It was wonderful to catch up with you Jenny.

View from the deck of the cafe.

View from the deck of the cafe.

Saturday: Spending the evening with my wonderful boyfriend after a long day of work with my beautiful family.

Sunday: Making special Chocolate Lolly Gobble Bliss Bomb Cupcakes for Mama to take to work for her birthday.

 

Filled with salted caramel too.

Filled with salted caramel too.

Week Eleven:

Monday: My longest run yet in training for the Gold Coast Half Marathon – 16km. Also, I got to go grocery shopping, which I love.

Tuesday:  Some of Mum’s friends gathered around our table for a morning tea birthday party.

Pink, vanilla, and sprinkle - what else does a girl need on her birthday?

Pink, vanilla, and sprinkle – what else does a girl need on her birthday?

Wednesday: A great writing race for my internship, and the chance to ask the brilliant Fiona Palmer some questions.

Thursday: The scent of lime and coconut wafting through my kitchen while my Lime and Coconut Snack Cake baked.

Friday: The chance to talk to some amazing women at the Sassy Survivors meeting.

Saturday: Made some new friends at the market this morning and stocked up on my favourite citrus: imperial mandarins!

Sunday: A family (and those friends who are family) dinner for Mum’s birthday. So lovely to see everyone gathered around the table.

The grande finale - Skittles Birthday cake! Taste the rainbow.

The grande finale – Skittles Birthday cake! Taste the rainbow.

Now, I am off to hand in my second-last university assignment for this semester, go for a challenging interval run, and then come home  and read a little bit.

Tell me, dear reader, what has made you grateful these past two weeks? Do you feel as though your life is sailing along in some places and snailing along in others?

Tomorrow – a recipe for Almond Tea Cake with Rosewater Glaze.